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Community Outreach & Neighborhood Planning

A skilled communicator, Sylvain is regularly called upon by governmental officials to serve as moderator of community forums and town meetings on areas involving budget priorities, commercial development projects, and other urban planning issues.  Having led public meetings on Mayor Landrieu’s Annual Community Budget Meetings, the development of the Walmart in Gentilly, and the redevelopment of Six Flags New Orleans are a few examples of where his expertise has been utilized by governmental entities.

An Urban Planner by profession, Sylvain most recently oversaw the $8 million redevelopment of the historic Carver Theater which during the 1950’s was hailed as “America’s finest theater exclusively for colored patrons.”  The state-of-the-arts live performance entertainment venue is located in the heart of Faubourg Tremé; the nation’s first neighborhood for “free people of color.” Its rebirth fills this historic neighborhood once again with life and energy, and is playing a vital role in spurring economic activity in that community.

Sylvain served as the Executive Assistant to Marc H. Morial, Mayor, City of New Orleans, for the Mayor’s Division of Housing and Neighborhood Development from May 1994 to May 2002; overseeing an annual budget of approximately $45 million with one of the highest economic inclusion rate for minorities in the country.  Under Sylvain’s charge was the accomplishment of federal, state, and local mandates concerning housing and community development.  He readily accepted the challenge to provide leadership for unifying the City’s efforts in developing a comprehensive neighborhood housing recovery plan.

Under his leadership, the City’s housing programs served as a national model for transformation.  The U.S. Conference of Mayor’s recognized his efforts in the development of Fannie Mae’s “House New Orleans” a $1 billion Fannie Mae affordable housing initiative which provided affordable home loans for more than 10,000 families.  Sylvain received the USCM’s “Excellence in Community Development” award for his leadership effort in the revitalization of the historic neighborhood of Tremé.  The creation of the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture, & History served as the signature project for that award.  Bob Vila, host of HGTV’s Restore America devoted a nationally aired segment on the Treme’ revitalization initiatives developed under Sylvain’s tenure. 

Sylvain’s recognized expertise led to his appointment to the National Advisory Council on the Housing Authority of New Orleans by the United States Congress. HUD presented his office with several of its “Best Practice” awards. Under his tenure, the City recorded more than 21,000 home sales, provided repairs to the homes of more than 6,000 citizens, and removed more than 11,000 vacant houses from the City’s landscape.  Sylvain’s creation of the City’s Soft Second program is still used today as the premier means of providing affordable housing to New Orleans citizens.   Sylvain diligently worked with others to help bring major economic development projects such as Saulet Apartments, Venus Gardens’ Apartments, Rivers Frederick Square, Congress Square, the American Can Company’s mixed-use residential facilities, Albertson’s Supermarket, Jazzland theme park and others to fruition.  His efforts led to more than $1.7 billion of housing recovery activities into New Orleans’ economy.

In 2006 Sylvain was honored by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans as a “Golden Gala” recipient for the linkage he provided hurricane survivors as well as recognized by New Orleans Data News Weekly with its presentation of the “Beacon in the Darkness” award.  He also received the “Spirit of Democracy” award from the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation and its 80-plus member organizations for his role in assuring access to the ballot by displaced voters who had been stranded across the country.  Rainbow PUSH Coalition honored Sylvain at its 2007 Gulf Coast Economic Summit with its “Unity Globe Communication” award for the leadership and attention he brought to issues centered on the need for an equitable recovery of the Gulf Coast.  He was also recognized as a “Damu Smith Power of One” award recipient by Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University for his work in the area of environmental justice.  In 2012 Sylvain received the “Scribe Award” from the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, and has been recognized by Harmony Neighborhood Development for his many years of service in engaging the community in neighborhood revitalization efforts.  Last year Paris Soul Café presented Sylvain with its “Men of Honor” award for his many achievements.

Those experiences have prepared Sylvain with the knowledge and contacts to build a team of highly skilled professionals with sensitivity to community concerns. Our philosophy in the area of neighborhood planning encourages joint venture partnerships between private sector investors and community or faith-based organization within targeted neighborhoods. We understand the challenges which exist in creating livable communities, particularly in established neighborhoods with existing cultural traditions. 

Our team understands that community buy-in is the most important ingredient in the neighborhood revitalization process. As a New Orleans-based entity, local concerns are paramount in project development.

From project oversight to completion, give your project the advantage of Sylvain Solutions!

Affordable Housing

Citizen Participation

Disaster Recovery Comprehensive Planning

Development Review

Economic Development Planning

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